“HAKOPIKE”- Amy Leigh Braaf

South Africa


1 - 28 Februry 2023

South African-based artist Hakopike was born and raised in Johannesburg. She has been working as a painter, illustrator, and photographer for the last 8 years. 

Being a South African woman she was labeled as “colored” from the moment she was born and started exploring oral stories and ancestry in her family from a young age. This was the catalyst that caused her to question the validity of documenting history through story-telling primarily. Celestial Deities became a channel of exploration and self-discovery of “Those who came before” and who have passed on to the other side but have gifted her with a long line of heritage. After being told that her great-grandmother had Indonesian and Japanese heritage, she decided to focus on what being racially ambiguous in South Africa meant. Her other heritage includes “Cape Malay” so she wanted to showcase the mixed culture of coloured people in South Africa who formulated their local dishes, and ways of coping mentally with the traumatic years that were caused during and after the Apartheid. 

This led her to Ketemu Project where she started her canvas pieces to depict these characters combining her knowledge of who they might have been and what their descendants are like now. Through symbolism, story-telling, and vibrant colors – this art series is aimed to bring light to those who didn’t have voices but are rich with stories that have never been told. After four weeks of immersing herself and getting exposure to our culture, at the end of her residency, Amy presented a solo exhibition “ Celestial Deities” and presented her artwork (more of her artwork).